Disaster Prep for Your Pet
I’ll never forget when I first began my career in Emergency Water Damage Restoration, I went into a house that had been so severely affected by water damage from a bathroom pipe bursting on the second floor of the home, that t puddles of water were bursting through the ceiling of the first floor, paint was literally melting off of the wall from the saturation behind the paint, soaked into the drywall. Floors were buckling and the house was in ruins. It was horrific. There was 3 inches of standing water in most every room in the house. The air conditioning was no longer running because electric had to be turned off to reduce chances of electric shock. It was the middle of July in Florida and the house was hot and very humid. I walked upstairs and went into a small hallway bathroom. There was a beautiful cat hiding in the corner of the bathroom, just beside of the toilet, terrified. After speaking with the owner, I found out that she had planned to leave the cat at the house over the weekend while she went to a friend’s house. After further discussions, and explanations of the dangers of leaving the cat in the home, I was able to convince her to take the cat with her until she was able to move back into her home. When disaster strikes, don’t forget about the important measures to take which are necessary to ensure the safety of our pets. Just like we have to do our pre-planning and preparation for the people in our family, we must do the same for our pets.
Here are two steps you can take to prepare an emergency game plan for your pets in the event of disaster:
#1. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND!
If your home is not safe for people, its not safe for pets. Pre-arrangement of a safe place for your pets is crucial. Do your due-diligence prior to the disaster so you are ready at a moment’s notice. If you must evacuate, either before or during the disaster, by having a pre-established place to take your furry (or feathered) loved ones will give you peace of mind and make what is already a stressful time, much easier to endure.
- Put together your list in advance, with addresses, contact names, and phone numbers.
- Have a list of family members and friends who could offer a safe-haven for your animals.
- Identify local emergency shelters for people that also allow pets.
- Check with your veterinarian to see if they board animals or can recommend a good boarding kennel.
- Call around to local motels and hotels and determine what their pet policy is.
#2. HAVE AN EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT!
Just like you have to put together your emergency supply kit for hurricane preparation, you must have your emergency supply kit for little Fluffy and Sparky! Remember to have these supplies ready before disaster strikes. Make sure that in the event of evacuation, you are ready to travel with your pets and their supplies. If your pets are horses, birds, or reptiles, they will need extra consideration. As a responsible pet-owner, make sure that you consider all of your pet’s needs. Here is a list of basic essentials for most pets. However, be sure to adjust this list to meet the needs of your specific type of pet.
- Identification – Make sure that your pet has an ID tag with your name and phone number on it. Having your pet microchipped is a very important step you can take in advance. If for any reason you and your pet get separated, you want to make sure that someone can identify who your pet belongs to so that you can be reunited. Also, make sure that your pet carrier has the pet’s name, your name, your phone number and address clearly marked on it.
- Get a rescue alert sticker from the ASPCA to place on your door. If you do end up evacuating the home, and you have the time, be sure to write “evacuated” on the sticker to alert rescue teams that you have removed the pets from the premises.
- Ask your vet what they recommend and if they have a booklet for a pet first aid kit. Putting together a first aid kit for your pet is as important as putting together your own first aid kit.
- Store 14 days worth of food.
- 1 gallon of bottled water per pet/per day for 14 days.
- Pet carrier and leashes.
- Photocopies of medical records
- Waterproof bag with 2-week supply of any medications your pet needs.
- Pet feeding dishes and water bowls.
- Liquid dishwashing soap and towel.
- Disposable garbage bags for clean-up.
- Disposable litter pan, such as an aluminum pan if you have a cat.
- Kitty litter for cat owners.
- Pet toys.
- Recent photos of your pet.
Keep in mind the daily needs of your pet and make sure that you have a 14 day supply of all the items you would normally need to take care of that pet, as well as a safe way to transport them if necessary. If you have exotic pets or horses, there are special procedures to follow for them as well. Speak with your veterinarian about your particular type of pet, and make sure you have the essentials you need, as well as an evacuation plan in place for those pets, long before the disaster strikes. Preventative measures and a plan of action can save lives of people and animals, alike.